27 illegal foreigners captured in raids
PANAMA. Inspectors of the National Immigration Services (SNM) , together with National Police units and Labor Ministry staff arrested 2...
PANAMA. Inspectors of the National Immigration Services (SNM) , together with National Police units and Labor Ministry staff arrested 27 foreigners of different nationalities, for being illegal, having out of date carnets, overstaying in the country and working without permits.
The majority of the people arrested were Colombian, but there were also citizens from Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Canada and Peru.
The raids by the Field Action Immigration Unit took place on July 27 and 28 in the neighborhoods of Santa Ana and Ancon.
Other raids took place in the Colon and Chiriqui provinces.
Seven of the foreigners were captured in an operation in Condado del Rey, Chanis and 24 de Diciembre, where people were detained for working in the country without having permits and being illegal.
Another seven, Colombians and Dominicans were arrested on Tuesday for not having the appropriate documentation.
The illegal immigrants were taken to a preventive hostel while they wait for the immigration authorities and the courts to decide their legal status.
So far the immigration male hotel located in Curundu has 114 inmates while the female one in Avenida Cuba has 301 prisoners.
The Immigration Service is tightening its hold on the problem of the illegal immigrants that come to the country as tourists and overstay, often finding work with people from their own country.
Currently there are around 50,000 Colombians legally residing in Panama, but there are a similar number living illegally in the country.
The problem of Colombian illegal immigrants has become worse due to the lack of jobs in that country and those fleeing the guerrillas, especially in the Darien province border area.
Panama is also one of the main routes, for human traffickers who bring people from far away places such a Somalia and China en route to the United States.
The isthmus is also popular with the so called economic refugees that generally come from places such as Dominican Republic, Honduras, Peru and Nicaragua who are coming to Panama lured by the possibility of finding jobs and a better life.
Recently the Vice-President, Juan Carlos Varela said that President Ricardo Martinelli had been in conversation with his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe to find ways to tackle the problems Panama has with Colombian nationals with regards to immigration, terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking.